When it comes to building and running a successful business, it can be easy to over-focus on the tools and processes that your team will need to use and follow on a day-to-day basis. While these are certainly important parts of fostering success, their significance quickly shrinks if you neglect something else: the actual people using the tools and the culture the operate in.
Great tools can mean great results from a great team, but if you’re missing the team, the whole structure can fall through. That’s why it’s critical to keep individuals and interactions a priority at all points. Employees are stakeholders too, after all.
Build a Team
“Have a great team” is important advice, but it is definitely easier said than done. Truthfully, a cohesive and collaborative team can work magic for a business, but there’s no secret formula to getting this exactly right. The closest thing might just be an Agile Manifesto suggestion: hire for soft skills.
Hard skills, of course, are important. But also important is the fact that hard skills can be taught and trained. On the other hand, for many, soft skills are simply a natural talent. Whether it be a prowess for communication, problem solving, or critical thinking, these soft skills are the magic that makes teamwork blossom, and that drives both collaboration and creativity. This isn’t just a catchy philosophy either, the stats hold up.
Foster a Great Workplace Environment and Culture
Setting up the building blocks for a great team is not enough. Once that team is built, staying passionate, creative, and collaborative is paramount. Hiring for those soft skills is a great start, but creating a culture of significance is how to keep the energy alive.
Not only do individuals come before tools, individuals cannot be treated as tools for the business. A team is more than just a machine that churns out results, it’s a collection of people each with their own passions and goals. Part of creating an environment that your team commits to is making sure these personal passions and goals are being taken into consideration.
If you invest in your team members, they will turn around and invest in the business, helping stakeholders all around. This leadership philosophy is called mentor management, and it’s what can make the difference between a vibrant and collaborative workplace, and somewhere where people just go through the motions every weekday.
The Tools are Secondary
To be sure, none of this is to say that the tools and processes are unimportant. They are a necessary part to making the whole operation functions at all, but the foundation will always be the team. The best tools are pointless without a cohesive and well-functioning team, but the best team can make magic happen even without the best tools.
Whether you’re still in the building stage or you’ve reached a point where reflection on your leadership philosophy is necessary, doing these “value” audits is an important part of healthy leadership. Your personal mantras and mission statements can say one thing, but ask yourself truly: what’s taking priority?
Living Pono is dedicated to communicating business management concepts with Hawaiian values. Founded by Kevin May, an established and successful leader and mentor, Living Pono is your destination to learn about how to live your life righteously and how that can have positive effects in your career. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or contact us here. Also, join our mailing list below, so you can be alerted when a new article is released.